Paavo Järvi

Estonian-born conductor Paavo Järvi is widely recognized as the musicians’ musician, enjoying close partnerships with the finest orchestras around the world. He serves as chief conductor of the Tonhalle Orchester-Zürich and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, as the longtime artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and of the Estonian Festival Orchestra, which he founded in 2011. He also is conductor laureate of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, music director laureate of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and artistic adviser of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. 

In September 2021, Paavo Järvi and the Tonhalle Orchester-Zürich celebrated their first season in the newly refurbished Grosse Tonhalle with a special concert featuring Mahler Symphony No. 3. In his third season as music director of Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Järvi will focus on Bruckner and begin recording the composer’s symphonies, as well as works by John Adams. This autumn Alpha Classics will release a complete box set of Tchaikovsky symphonies, completing the cycle, which was their first major recording project together in Zürich.

Järvi returns to Japan in autumn 2021 for his final season as chief
conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He completes his seven-year tenure with performances and a recording of Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, returning to the composer who brought his collaboration with the Tokyo musicians international critical acclaim.

As artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen since 2004, Järvi has focused on in-depth projects of composers including Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms. During the 2021-22 season, Järvi and the Bremen ensemble continue with their latest project, Haydn’s London Symphonies, which they will take on tour, perform in residency in Vienna and record for release in 2022.

Each season concludes with a week of performances and conducting master classes at the Pärnu Music Festival in Estonia, which Järvi founded in 2011 with his father, Neeme Järvi. The success of both the festival and its resident ensemble, the Estonian Festival Orchestra, has led to a string of high-profile invitations, including recent performances at the BBC Proms, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and a tour of Japan.

In addition to his permanent positions, Järvi is much in demand as a guest conductor, regularly appearing with the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris, where he served as music director from 2010 to 2016. This season, Järvi returns to perform with all of these orchestras, as well as with National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

In 2019, Järvi was named Conductor of the Year by Germany’s Opus Klassik and received the 2019 Rheingau Music Prize for his artistic achievements with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in the German orchestral and cultural landscape. Other prizes and honors include a Grammy Award for his recording of Sibelius’ Cantatas with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Artist of the Year designation from both Gramophone (England) and Diapason (France) in 2015 and Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture for his contribution to music in France.

In 2015, he was presented with the Sibelius Medal in recognition of his work in bringing the Finnish composer’s music to a wider public; in 2012, he received the Hindemith Prize for Art and Humanity. As a dedicated supporter of Estonian culture, Järvi was awarded the Order of the White Star by the president of Estonia in 2013.

Born in Tallinn, Estonia, Järvi studied percussion and conducting at the Tallinn School of Music. In 1980, he moved to the United States, where he continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein.